Arizona's Governor Ends Uber's Self-Driving Car Tests Indefinitely

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The state of Arizona is finished with Uber’s self-driving car test program.


On the heels of last week’s fatal crash where a pedestrian was struck by a self-driving Uber test vehicle in Tempe, Arizona Gov. Douglas Ducey tonight rescinded the company’s license to test and operate autonomous vehicles in the state.

Via 12 News reporter Bianca Buono on Twitter, here is Ducey’s letter to Uber’s CEO:

Forty-nine-year-old Elaine Herzberg was struck and killed by an Uber-modified Volvo XC90 while she was attempting to cross the road at night, and a video later revealed the car’s human minder was looking down at the time of the crash.

“I found the video (of the crash) to be disturbing and alarming, and it raises many questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona,” Ducey wrote to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Noting the crash was an “unquestionable failure to comply” with the expectation that public safety be the top priority for self-driving car tests, Ducey directed the state’s Dept. of Transportation to suspend Uber’s testing on public roadways.

“Arizona will not tolerate anything less than an unequivocal commitment to public safety,” Ducey wrote.

The governor’s order comes after numerous questions were raised about the safety of Uber’s test cars. As Jalopnik reported, the company recently switched to only using one human minder instead of two, as is the typical industry standard. Additionally Uber’s cars were revealed to require far more “interventions” by human minders than similar cars made by Google’s Waymo and others.


The announcement tonight also represents a big change for Arizona, which under Ducey initially welcomed a great deal of self-driving car testing by various companies—many of whom arrived from California after that state sought to enforce stricter safety regulations.


Not anymore, that’s for sure.



The “pedestrian” in question here:

- Was wearing a black sweater, at night

- crossed outside of the crosswalk

- crossed outside of the glow of streetlights even, in complete darkness

- crossed in front of a fast-moving vehicle, that she could see; and that could clearly not see her based on the above factors, which she might have considered had this person taken any personal responsibility for their own safety.

I’m saying 10 out of 10 times, a hypothetical human driver hits this woman and ends her life as well. Some of them might see her early enough to start applying the brakes as they are hitting her.